It was a beautiful, bright, winter Saturday. The kind where the air is crisp and wet, thick with the anticipation of some wintry mix threatening to keep everyone inside, fireside bound for the whole of the day. Except the bright boldness of the sun dared anyone to mention inclement weather, as she spread all her rays out over the earth like a mama’s proud arms, welcoming her babies in to the warmth, love and comfort that only a mama can assure. Yes, the sun was working her magic and wooing all of the women as they excitedly dressed and prepared to go and wish well another Darling, preparing herself to take on a new last name and a basket full of responsibilities to go along with it. They were all so excited that though aware of the blue temperatures outside, they were motivated to be with her, share with her, celebrate her and tell her exactly how to be the best wife possible to this lucky man. So excited they were, in fact, and having done this several times before for a friend, a niece, sister, cousin, that they got caught up in the excitement and familiarity of it all and forgot to consult with their their editor and manager about what they should say. Surely He cares that much about us, to inform us on how to inform others about how to do His will?!?! Yet they sauntered out there, laughing, playing happy games, conversing amongst themselves, sipping the sweet, inviting nectar of joy and eating the tenderly baked, enticing confections of comfort and started talking out of turn. Their guards were down–which can be one of the worse times to speak aloud at all, especially in a group setting and especially when you haven’t spoken with your manager.
No, they weren’t rude or harsh, but they spoke more from their own heartaches and past mistakes rather than from truth. And Darling, so eager to please and be the wife she felt her lover deserved, took it all in without a sieve. She swallowed it all whole thinking that it’d be better to receive it all now, soak up the moment and try it out later to see for herself if these platters of advice from the kind, well-meaning women in her community, would lay softly on the palate of her intended.
Seeing that she was a hungry girl, and wanting her to do well in this call, they talked more and more and became braver in their offerings, leaving no room in the house untouched. From the Kitchen to the laundry room to the bedroom, Darling was told exactly what her man would like and wouldn’t like, and how she should conduct herself if she wanted to stay married. Shucks, it got so good in there that even the younger, unmarried school girls started placing their offerings before her, as if they knew anything about this scared calling for themselves except for what they had been warned against or had seen played out in some version the Housewives franchise. They meant well. . .
No one seemed to notice that Darling’s once bright, anxious, joyful eyes had now dropped to a half moon, wandering, listless stare. And those that did notice figured that she was probably just getting tired and wanted to open gifts.
Not all of the talk was unproductive and unedited but one of the comments that I think dimmed her light a bit came from the back of the room, an auntie, older, respected, and thought to be wiser than most of them said,
“Don’t tell your business. If anything happens in your marriage, keep that between you and your husband. Don’t tell people what’s going in your relationship because you’ll choose to forgive him and they won’t.”
If I were a betting woman, I would bet you that all across the world, there is some version of this same bit of advice being told to women all over the world. But is it biblical?
It just doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me.
Darling finds herself in the position of being recognized as that “good thing” that the gentleman has been searching for. She is so excited about being with this man and so she sets out to plan her wedding, for some, the day of her dreams. As she plans, she chooses the women who will stand closest to her on that day. They smile, cry, tilt heads to the side, clutch hearts and prepare for months of sentimentality and love, anxious for the big day. Then, after the day has come, they have all celebrated, eaten cake and burned it off with the Cupid Shuffle and the Electric Slide, the couple drives off into the sunset to live happily ever after . . . and the supporting cast members are supposed to just walk away and stay out of their business?
No. I think we’ve got this all wrong.
I don’t believe that you should share your business with just anybody just as much as I believe that you shouldn’t have just anybody in your wedding. Marriage is sacred and we should treat it as such from the moment we start dating.
The bible speaks often about community and how we are to conduct ourselves as we live in community with each other. One example is in Galatians 6:2 encouraging us to: “Carry each others burdens…”
I should be able to talk to a select few women in my life, or perhaps one woman, who is close to me, loves me, sincerely cares about me and my marriage when I am happy and when I am struggling to be the wife who respects her husband as I am called to do in Ephesians. I should be able to go to her and trust that she will keep my confidence and lead me to the throne to receive help and healing for my heart, mind and marriage.
Now, to be clear, I do believe that our first move should always be toward the Lord, in prayer. We shouldn’t ever get into the habit of running to friends and family for help when our God has already set Himself up as everything that we need. But the place where most people get mixed up is in forgetting that God places people in our lives who we are to grow with. He will often use people to show us His love for us, to show us His hand of provision, and even His hand of correction can come down through the people in our lives. Don’t shut people out because you have been told to cover your relationship like a newborn child in the middle of a war zone. Be wise about the people you have in your life, and trust God to use them to lead you into His call for you, which is holiness.
I have some of the most amazing women in my life. Truly. They love me. They like me. They applaud me but they also challenge me. They know who I am and they know that I aspire to be pleasing to God, so they never let me compromise that. I am free to pitch a 60 second fit but they are are there, one (and sometimes two) at a time, to gently get my head back in the game and get back on point. They are consistent as I parent, in my friendships, my work, relationships, goals, and yes, my marriage.
I think that we should talk more about this and unravel it a bit more. We’ve got to debunk this myth and see what the Lord has to say about it. While it has some value for keeping the sanctity of your marriage, I believe that it has taken a turn and put more of us in bondage than anything else. I believe that there is a reader who needs to be free and know that she just may have someone in her life that she can be completely transparent with about her marriage, to the glory of God and the edification of her and her husband. I also believe that for some of us, it runs a little deeper and we need to clean house and get some new Frans ’cause the ones we have on staff have taken an extended, paid vacation.